Friday, 30 November 2018

SOA, School Of Assassins.

        For far too many years the SOA, (School of Americas) America's training centre for blood thirsty dictators, assassins, and psychopathic leaders has been dispatching its graduates around the world. From this hub of despotism has come many of the world's worst dictators, military leaders and coldblooded assassins. Just another export from the "good ol' US of A" another blood splattered product of "The Land of The Free". The list of names that have exited its doors reads like a world listing of the worst of brutal criminals.
       For years the group SOA Watch, has been campaigning to have this brutal anathema to democracy shut down, and to make its purpose known to the public at large.
      In Honduras all eyes are on the outcome of a trial, where some of the products of the SOA, stand accused of being part of a group involved in a brutal assassination. It would be wonderful if they were found guilty, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

        Later today, a Honduran Court is scheduled to deliver the verdict in the case against the first 8 people accused of the murder of visionary Indigenous and social movement leader Berta Caceres and the tentative murder of Mexican environmental and social activist Gustavo Castro. Among the accused are:
       * SOA graduate and former head of security for the DESA hydroelectric dam company Douglas Bustillo, who is accused of planning and coordinating with the group of hitmen who went to Berta’s home to murder her.
        * SOA graduate and Army Major Mariano Diaz Chavez, who is accused of providing logistics for the murder.
        * Henrry Hernández, a former soldier connected to Major Mariano Diaz and Douglas Bustillo, who is alleged to have been the leader of the group of hitmen that went to Berta’s home on March 2, 2016.
           * Elvin Rapalo, Oscar Torres, and Edilson Duarte, who are alleged to have killed Berta, shot Gustavo, and driven the getaway vehicle, respectively.
          * Sergio Rodriguez, a manager for the DESA dam company who is accused of coordinating informants to provide DESA company executives and directors with regular information about Berta and COPINH.
            * Emerson Duarte, the twin brother of the alleged getaway car driver, who seems to be erroneously facing trial because the murder weapon is alleged to have been found in his home. However, no other evidence has been presented to suggest he was involved in the murder and government prosecutors downgraded the charge against him at the last moment. Nevertheless, he has been in jail for two and a half years on murder charges.
           The intellectual authors — those who paid to assassinate Berta — are notably absent from this trial. Roberto David Castillo, President of the DESA company, was arrested earlier this year but his case has been plagued by major delays. No other intelectual authors have been arrested.
          The organization that Berta Caceres co-founded and led, COPINH, is inviting everyone to participate in a Twitterstorm today to continue calling for those who ordered and paid for Berta’s assassination at the highest level to be held accountable. You can join on Twitter by using the hashtags #CapturaALosAutoresIntelectuales (Arrest the Intellectual Authors) and #JusticiaParaBerta (Justice for Berta).
           The trial has been plagued by irregularities and negligence that benefits the criminal structure responsible for the murder. The prosecutors representing Berta’s family were glaringly absent, as the court removed the lawyers representing Berta’s children and mother from their role as private prosecutors the day before the trial began in a highly irregular move (in Honduras and many other countries lawyers representing the victims prosecute the case alongside government prosecutors). Additionally, government prosecutors and members of a US-supported investigative unit that testified during the trial apparently failed to properly carry out certain basic investigative actions, contributing to impunity and enabling the defense lawyers to make arguments on procedural grounds. Also, several Constitutional challenges filed by the victims have yet to be resolved.
         The most moving part of the whole five and half week trial came this Saturday following the closing arguments when Laura Zuniga Cáceres, Berta’s youngest daughter, exercised her right to address the Court before they left to deliberate on the verdict. Fighting back tears, Laura looked directly at the judges and said:
          “Today it’s up to me to speak, something I don’t want to do because no one wants to talk after their mother has been murdered. It’s up to me to speak because this justice system didn’t allow us to participate in this process, it expelled us.
         The private accusation should be here, our lawyers who have accompanied us, who investigated, who formulated a complimentary theory for this case – complimentary. They should be here making the closing arguments, explaining the context in which this murder occurred, which is so important. How she was persecuted, how they even persecuted international accompaniers because this was a DESA policy.
         Our lawyers aren’t here because you threw us out of this process and we are here to speak about that too... From the moment my mom was murdered, we were excluded from the process, and we don’t agree with that either. We don’t agree with being denied the possibility of having an observer present during my mom’s autopsy, of not receiving information. We’ve had to fight for information at every moment, every step of the way. We didn’t do it on a whim, we did it because we are prepared to do everything necessary to get to the truth because we understand that it’s our right, because we understand that it’s the right of the Honduran people, because we want to establish precedents for justice.-----
Read Laura’s full remarks here:
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Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Those Inhuman Cages Of State Repression.

       Prisons are inhuman institutions, cages of repression and control, places where slight mishaps and small infringements can and do result in severe and often, arbitrary consequences. They are places where violence and intimidation are never far away. They can and often do, destroy the individual's ability to function normally, and serve no purpose other than repression, intimidation and to create subservience. All those who find themselves contained in the state's cages of repression deserve our full support and solidarity.

      After a week of anxious waiting and worrying, we now have and can share details about Jeremy’s current situation.
       Jeremy is currently in solitary confinement and is at risk of being transferred to a higher security prison because of an incident that occurred sometime last week.
       The incident occurred either Monday, November 19th, or Tuesday, November 20th. Jeremy was exiting his unit and either pushed or bumped a door. The door he was exiting through did not have a window or any way to see through to the other side. There was an officer on the other side of the door, and, when the door opened, it allegedly bumped the officer. In response to being bumped with the door, the officer grabbed Jeremy, threw him up against the wall, and took him to the SHU (segregated housing unit), without placing Jeremy in handcuffs or calling for backup, as is prison protocol. Once in SHU, he was written up for “assaulting a staff member” for the original act of bumping the officer with the door. Thankfully, Jeremy was not injured when he was thrown against the wall, but he has been in solitary for the past week while he awaits his disciplinary hearing. The hearing should be sometime this week.
       This situation is extremely serious for several reasons. The first is that when he was brought to SHU, Jeremy was placed in true solitary confinement. Most times, when Jeremy is placed in SHU, his placement is two prisoners to a cell. While time in SHU is never pleasant, true solitary confinement has been denounced by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez as “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” that may cause “severe mental pain or suffering”. A Human Rights Watch report has described it as “emotionally, physically, and psychologically destructive.” The UN Special Rapporteur on torture also strongly recommended a complete prohibition on solitary confinement in excess of 15 days. As far as we know, Jeremy has been in solitary for seven days.
       The second reason the situation is so serious is that if this infraction is upheld during his disciplinary hearing, Jeremy possibly faces a transfer to a higher security prison. Assaulting a staff member is a very severe charge, and would place Jeremy at a higher “offender level”. This is extremely worrying, as it means he would be tranferred to a medium security prison, where he would enjoy less freedoms and, even more disheartening, would be unable to finish his college classes or earn the degree he has worked so hard to complete. A transfer with a record of “assaulting a staff member” at his previous prison would also make Jeremy a target for prison staff at any new prison he was sent to. Jeremy is also very close to family at his current prison and is able to enjoy frequent visits from friends. Being taken away from that would be a devastating blow to both Jeremy and the people close to him.
       However, there is hope. If the disciplinary infraction is upheld during his hearing, Jeremy can request to stay at FCI Milan under something called “management variable”. This would mean he has the “points” that would normally place him in a medium security prison, but he would nevertheless be housed at a low security prison. This would, ironically enough, be made possible because of the college classes he has worked so hard on and is now in danger of being transferred away from. We will not know if this is an available option until we know the results of his disciplinary hearing.
These are all the details that we know as of the time of this posting. Calls are being made to Jeremy’s case manager and possibly to the warden to see what, if anything, can be done to help the situation. Please, at this time, we are asking that members of the general public do not call the prison. The situation is extremely delicate. However, you can write to Jeremy and we encourage everyone to do that! His address is:
Jeremy Hammond, #18729-424
FCI Milan
P.O.Box 1000
Milan, MI 48160
Thank you again for all your support. I will update this post with new details as they emerge.
Love and rage,
Grace North
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Monday, 26 November 2018

Music, Poetry, And Politics In Glasgow.

        Well this is Monday 26th. of November, you have just two days to get your diary sorted so that you can attend what will be a wonderful and unique evening of music, singing, poetry and politics, what more could you ask for? This night will bring together some of the best known names in Scotland, paying tribute to Artists in Solidarity, who in 1984 put on a superb event, "Writers for Miners" in support of the striking miners. Lots of those who performed on that evening will be performing on Wednesday 28th. November at Mono's, Glasgow. (the time is 7:00pm, not 7:30 as stated on Mono's page.)
       This event will be the launch of a CD of the original performance in support of the striking miners, for a sneek preview of what to expect, take a look at this list.

After the introductions:
Nancy Nicolson
Aonghas Macneacail
Gerda Stevenson
Liz Lochhead
Rab Noakes

30 minutes interval

Allan Tall
Alan McMunigal of thi wurd will introduce young writers who will read works of those poets who who were at the original event but can't be with us on the night.

Freddy Anderson: (In the Vale of Aberfan) 
Hamish Henderson: Glascune & Drumlochy OR Three poems from 1939
Eddie Boyd: (“The niddeny nottum cherbo”) 
Tom McGrath: (I know a man from Denver called Mr Mac)

Donald Saunders
AnneThomson: (Dream-Songs for Winters/TheAdam'sRib)

Peter Nardini 
Tom Leonard
Ewan McVicar
      The proceeds of the event will go to support Spirit of Revolt, have a wee look at their website. 
7pm. to 10pm.
Wednesday, 28th. November, 2018.
Mono, 12, Kings Court,
Glasgow, G1 5RB.
Tickets at the door.
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Just Another Corrupt Day In The Capitalist Environment.

       Day in, day out, we see the various fiddles, corruption, exploitation that forms the basis of the capitalist system. Sometimes it is small dodgy backroom deals, other times it is large corporate fiddles, but the system can't function without them. Its life blood is profit, which simply means getting more out than you put in, and the aim is always to increase that "profit". These deals can mean decimating the environment, ripping off the public, and the usual one  of depriving the public of any slice of the endeavor, which in turn destroys the fabric of society, making it impossible to create a fair and just environment for the public at large.
       This latest little fiddle to come to light is one that, with the usual callousness of the system, will add more deprivation to the people of a country who already live in extreme poverty, making sure the stay there or sink deeper in to the mire of deprivation. There only hope, like that of the rest of us, is to destroy this corrupt, gangster, exploitative and inhuman system, and replace it with one that the people control to the benefit of all.
     Shell and Eni’s scandal-plagued oil deal will deprive Nigeria of $6bn, experts estimate
         Amount is more than double the combined education and healthcare budget of Nigeria
         ------ "After years of denials, Shell admitted last year that it knew much of the money initially paid for the block, known as OPL245, would pass to convicted money launderer Dan Etete, who took a cut for himself with much of the rest paid to well-connected officials.
         Under the contract, just 41 per cent of future revenues from the oil block will accrue to Nigeria, according to the report commissioned by NGO Global Witness and anti-corruption campaigners at Re:Common, the Corner House and HEDA.
         Typically, 65 to 85 per cent of profits from such deals go to the government that granted the licence, under what’s known as a production sharing contract (PSC).
         But with OPL245, Shell and Eni dispensed with the PSC structure and effectively cut Nigeria out of all future profits. Instead the government will receive only tax revenues."----
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Saturday, 24 November 2018

Glasgow's Anti-Racism March 2018.

      Saturday 24th. November saw Glasgow's annual anti-racism march. Despite Glasgow's cold November weather, in excess of 1,500 individuals turned up to march from Glasgow Green, through the city streets proclaiming their view that we are all human and each and every one of us deserves respect and to be treated decently. 
            As usual there was a motley crew with various banners and flags, groups, unions and individuals, all with the same message, "refugees are welcome here". It might have been a sedate march through our streets, but it is important, especially at this time of rising far-right and fascist tendencies. that we keep that message on the streets. We have to make it very clear, the citizens of Glasgow will not tolerate racism in any shape or form. We win and protect our freedom by protecting the freedom of others. Well done Glasgow, and a big thank you to all those who took part.
       Though I couldn't make the event myself, a comrade sent me some details with these photos. Thanks Keith.

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UK, Land Of Privilege And Poverty.

         Once again that clump of land, know as the UK, the forth richest country in the world, has been exposed as a class ridden, land of inequality. A land mired in poverty, strewn with destitution, where a small cabal live a life of unimaginable opulence, at the expense of the many.
        Inequality of wealth between the poorest and the richest is wider in UK than any other developed country, and is widening.
       First, earnings of the top 10 per cent of full-time workers doubled between 1978 and 2008, whereas those of the median grew by 60 per cent and the bottom 10 per cent by just a quarter. After the financial crisis, overall earnings fell substantially over the next five years before recovering slightly, but they are falling once again. This combination of absolute decline following generations of widening inequality explains much of the current sense of unfairness.
      Second, the standard measure of income inequality, the Gini coefficient, shows Britain’s post-tax inequality rising strongly in the 1980s (from 28 per cent in 1978 to 41 per cent in 1990) though it has stabilised a little since (to around 37 per cent). Having once been one of the more egalitarian developed countries, the UK is now one of the least. Third, there has been an extraordinary concentration of rewards in the hands of the top 1 per cent, and within that group, the top 0.10 per cent.
     Finally, wealth inequality is greater than for incomes and is growing. In the absence of compensating wealth taxation, high earners can turn their income into assets, and the value of assets can be compounded through investment. This is then passed on as inheritance, entrenching inequality across time between generations and classes.
         Recently our political ballerinas, mostly wealthy products of the Oxbridge sausage factory, were all aghast at the audacity of the UN Rapporteur Philip Alston when he released his report on poverty in the UK. Foaming at the mouth they declared, how dare he put on display, the extent of poverty and destitution in this country. They went into convulsions when he claimed that the extreme poverty and destitution in this country was a deliberate result of government choices rather than inevitable circumstances.
      Alston was critical of the “mentality” behind cuts and reforms introduced in the past few years that have brought misery and torn at the social fabric. “British compassion for those who are suffering has been replaced by a punitive, mean-spirited and callous approach …”
Universal credit
      The government’s ambitious programme to simplify the benefits system was a good idea in principle but was “fast falling into universal discredit” and should be overhauled. It was gratuitously punitive in its effects. Draconian sanctions and long payment delays drove claimants into hardship, depression and despair.
       Of course ordinary Joes, like you and I, knew all this, we didn't need a UN Rapporteur to tell us of the extreme poverty and destitution in this clump of land, nor did we need to be told that deliberate policies were the cause. We have lived with it for years, we have seen the result among our friends, family and neighbours. We are also aware of who is responsible for these policy choices that created this quagmire of despair, and we also know that to expect those wealth privileged political ballerinas to start to spread the wealth of this country more equally is fantasy from cloud cuckoo land.
       The answer is to rid ourselves of these prancing, privileged parasites, and take control of wealth and resources of this rich and wealth plot of land, and start to create a system that will spread those riches in a fair manner, seeing to the needs of all our people. We can do it without UN Rapporteurs, political ballerinas, and privileged worthless parasites. The sooner we start, the quicker we will see all that poverty, despair and destitution disappear.
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Friday, 23 November 2018

The Police, Functioning As They Were Intended.

      The illusion that is peddled by the establishment and its propaganda mouthpiece, that babbling brook of bullshit, the mainstream media, that the police are there to protect us, the ordinary people, grows thinner and thinner to the point of evaporation. Every act of police violence and corruption, remember Hillsborough, every brutal attack by police on protestors, the violence heaped on strikers, remember the 1984/85 miners strike, every miscarriage of justice by police lies, should by now have made it perfectly clear where their loyalty lies.  According to the establishment the police are doing what they were set up to do, protect the rich and wealthy from the poor and the desperate, to protect them from those who would challenge their privileged position. The only modifications the state will make to the police is to give them ever greater power and to see they are more heavily armed. The police are not the friends of the people, they stand in the way of justice, equality and freedom. They are the first line of bodyguards of this system of inequality and exploitation, with the troops standing in the background if needed. It is the same story the world over.
This from Anarchist News:

        On October 20th, 2018 around 1am, cops showed up to a call at an apartment above a King St. Shop in Hamilton, Ontario. Inside they found Robyn Garlow, 30yo mother of one, with a knife. They electrocuted her with a taser and, as she was falling to the ground, shot her four fucking times.
     Garlow was known to the police. She was a drug user and was recently out of jail. These details have no relevancy to her worth, her inherent right to freedom from state oppression. Yet, they already have been and will be used to justify her murder. Because the police are a violent organization meant to protect property of the rich, they have no humanity for the poor and the working class. Because the police are a patriarchal organization meant to enforce laws that privilege masculinity, they have no room for women who do not submit to their authority.
        This was not a tragic mistake, this was murder. Badge or no badge. This was not a case of one bad or inexperienced or over-worked officer, this was an officer carrying out the mandate of the police. Just as, earlier this year, police murdered 19yo Quinn MacDougall in his own apartment after he called the cops for help. And so, on October 28th, Feminist Action Hamilton called a demonstration to protest the ongoing oppression of our communities by this violent organization. Not to demand justice for Garlow – as we know none exists within this judicial system, let alone the SIU – but to mourn and fight for all victims and survivors of police brutality. And to dream of a world without cops or cages.
     Around 40 people met and marched down King St, holding up traffic on a busy downtown street for over 20 minutes. We held a banner that read FEMINISTS AGAINST POLICE: COPS DON’T KEEP US SAFE. We stopped to acknowledge a moment of silence at the scene of the murder and then circled around the block for a moment of screaming rage at the Hamilton Police headquarters. We had a marching band in full effect and we handed out over 300 flyers to passersby that listed 12 things you can do besides calling the cops.
       As feminists, it is important for us to draw attention to the fact that the police repress, harass, and attack Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities more intensely in order to uphold white supremacy. This is a continuation of the legacy of the police as institutions that, in the United States, were born out of slave patrols to protect white people from Black slaves and, in Canada, were created in order to help put down Indigenous revolt in order to secure white settlement of the plains.
      As feminists, it is important for us to draw attention to the fact that the police make sex work unsafe. And that queer, non-binary, and trans people – specifically transwomen – are met with more violence by the police than others. And that the police criminalize and abuse those of us with mental illness and use the prison system as though it were a hospital.
      As feminists, it is important for us to draw attention to the fact that police officers often use their undue authority to coerce and rape women on the job. And that police officers go home and extend their undue authority to their households where nearly 40% of them abuse their domestic partners with impunity.
Every assault, rape, or murder of a person by the police is an attack against us all.
Because the authority of the police breeds monsters…
Because all people deserve to be free from state oppression…
Because the system is working exactly the way it was designed to work…
We cannot call for reform or review, but only the abolition of the police and the world it creates.
      Feminist Action Hamilton is an autonomous collective of women, trans, and non-binary persons which organizes along anarchist principles both within our communities – forming systems of mutual aid – and outside our communities – empowering ourselves to fight back against patriarchy in all its forms.
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Wednesday, 21 November 2018

All States Have Blood On Their Hands.

      State violence against legitimate and peaceful marches is not the prerogative of right-wing fascist governments. All the so called representative democracies have blood on their hands. Protesters have been shot on the streets of UK mainland and Northern Ireland. It is the states answer to dissent.
     Members of the government in Greece proudly wear the badge of socialist and communist, but willing send their over armed thugs onto the street in an attempt to intimidate those citizens who go on peaceful marches or wish to show dissent. The state can't tolerate any form of dissent, it is seen as a threat to their power and control.
This from Perseus999:

 Published on Nov 17, 2018

         Athens: On 17 November 2018, following the annual protest in commemoration of the student revolt against the military dictatorship in Athens, Greece, (1973), and despite the fact that this year's protest was ending in an absolutely peaceful manner, scores of riot policemen encircled the black block just before it was going to disperse and for no apparent reason, no provocation, no excuse, no justification, they suddenly launched a massive attack and charged against the crowd with batons while firing asphyxiating gas grenades and flash-bang grenades, creating chaos in a residential area of central Athens, just outside Ambelokipoi metro station. This video serves as a reminder that this is what democracy looks like, ie. you don't have to provoke the State or the police to get attacked, wounded, gassed, arrested, intimidated and persecuted. The State and the police will judge you solely on the basis of your political or ideological beliefs. Some people argue that scenes like these are evident of a fascist State and not a democratic one, in spite of the fact that attacks like these take place all over the world in almost every democratic State that exists on the planet, by both left or right wing governments. The government of SYRIZA in Greece is a left one, the vast majority of its politicians or members call themselves socialists or communists and yet you see scenes of ruthless violence by their policemen that are identical to what happens to States ruled by right wing governments. They are not even afraid that people will make a connection between the commemoration of a crushed bloody student rebellion by a military junta and the brutal attack against a protest by policemen armed and dressed like soldiers on the same day years later. The common denominator is power. No Gods, No Masters. Video from a similar riot police attack exaclty on the same day (17 November 2017) in the same street last year:
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A War Only We The People Can End.

          For centuries vast swaths of the working class have been subservient under the illusion that their problems can be solved by relying on organisations and political parties external to their own class. For too long solving our problems has been theorised and delegated to groups with tenuous, fragile and sometimes fictional, connections to our class, who claim to have our interests at heart, with the only result possible, we lose control of those struggles, and our problems remain.
           The solving of the problems of our class can only be achieved by basing all our strategies on a class based structure, with all the working class involved in an active struggle.
            History tells us that the lines are drawn between the working class and the establishment, and all those organisations outside our class, no matter their proclamations, in the final battle will capitulate to the power of the state to preserve their position and their organisation. There is a war going on, continuously, and world wide, and it is waged by a class of powerful established states and corporations, against the ordinary people, the dispossessed, the working class. There is no middle ground, to believe there is, is to allow inequality and exploitation to continue.
        To win that better world for all, we have to see and recognise that battle line, the line between the classes, and take our stand united on our side of the battle line. We are involve in a war, if we fail to recognise its class structure, it is a war we can never win. To the ordinary people of this world, there can be only one war, the class war.
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Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Glasgow's Anti-Racism March.

        The UK, like most countries in recent years, have seen a rise in racism, acts of abuse and violence against immigrants and ethnic minorities. So now more than ever, we have to come together to stamp out this inhuman fascist trend.
      This Saturday gives all those in Glasgow and surrounding area the opportunity to show the true feeling of the ordinary people in our area. The Glasgow annual anti-racism march talks place this Saturday November 24th. Let's show where we stand on racism, it is vile, inhuman, and divides the people into opposing groups, rather than have them come together against the real enemy of the people, the capitalist system. Though organised by the STUC, you don't have to be in a union to be part of this, though you should think about joining one if you're not, the IWW for example, you just have to be a decent human being.
Sat 24 Nov - STUC St Andrew's Day Anti-Racism March & Rally

Assemble 10.30am, Glasgow Green. March off 11.00am. Rally at 12 noon at Adelaides, Bath Street

The STUC St. Andrew's Day Anti-Racism March & Rally will take place on Saturday 24th November. This important annual event is organised by the STUC Black Workers Committee. Economic hardship continues to be blamed on migration. Hate crime has risen across the UK. We see atrocities committed in the name of governments across the world. And the UK government should hang its head in shame for its treatment of the Windrush generation and the residents of the Grenfell Tower in London.

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Monday, 19 November 2018

Writers For Miners Glasgow.

      In 1984 During the miners strike a group of writers, artists, poets, got together at the Third Eye Centre, now the CCA, and did a benefit performance in support of the striking miners. The audio file was preserved and with the artists permission Spirit of Revolt created a new CD. Now we have the privilege of hearing some of the original performers again as they gather for this memorable performances. You can also buy the CD at the performance (£5), or order from Spirit of Revolt. All benefits go to supporting Spirit of Revolt in its continuing effort at archiving Glasgow/Clydeside working class history.
      A night to remember, Music, Poetry and Politics! A collaboration between thi wurd, Artists-in-Soidarity and Spirit of Revolt.


James Kelman
Paula Larkin
Tom Leonard
Liz Lochead
Ewan McVicar
Alan McMunigall
Aonghas MacNeacail
Peter Nardini
Nancy Nicolson
Rab Noakes
Donald Saunders
Gerda Stephenson
Allan Tall
Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan

Stalls: IWW, SoR, thi wurd

       Tickets at door. £5:00 or £10 including CD of original performance. Just 9 days to go---- November 28th!!!
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Saturday, 17 November 2018

MY Car Is My Home.

       The number of people in America who are working and find their car is their home is on the increase. They drive to work, drive back to a parking lot and go to sleep. Just another symptom of a rotten corrupt exploitative system that works for the wealthy few, creating unbelievable opulence, and dire poverty and destitution. This from Vice News:
Published on Sep 6, 2018

         There is a shortage of affordable housing in every state in the country, but it's especially bad in California — where there's only one affordable housing unit for every five extremely low income households. The gap is not only pushing more and more people out onto the streets—it's also creating a new, fast-growing, and hidden class of homelessness: People who in the past would have been able to afford a room or apartment but now live in their cars by necessity. Danielle Williams is one of them. She’s a single working mother who has been living in her van with her daughter for five years. At first, it meant sleeping in dark, scarcely populated areas, and being hassled by the police. But thanks to a program called Safe Parking — a network of parking lots equipped with porta-potties and lot monitors — she can now stay in her car overnight without worrying about her safety. VICE News traveled to California to see how the new program is helping people like Danielle live a little more comfortably, and met with a government official who’s frustrated there aren’t longer term solutions to help the roughly 16,000 people in Los Angeles who now sleep in their cars. Subscribe to VICE News here: Check out VICE News for more: Follow VICE News here: Facebook: Twitter: Tumblr: Instagram: More videos from the VICE network:

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Capitalism's Inadequacy In The Face Of Disasters.

          Regarding the tragic situation of the fires in California, our babbling brook of bullshit, the mainstream media, gives us lots of photos of burning trees and homes, brave firefighters tackling the ferocious blazes, and some reports of a few distressed people looking at what remains of their homes. But what is really happening to those hundreds of thousands who have fled their homes and the thousands who have no longer got homes to return to?  This article from Its Going Down, goes some way to filling that gap and also displaying capitalism's total inadequacy, and unwillingness to deal with this sort of tragic occurrence.

        In the lead up to the election, Donald Trump and Fox News anchors attempted to mobilize the Republican base by playing up fears of disease laden refugees from Honduras coming to the United States to seek asylum, ironically fleeing a regime that was helped into place by Hilary Clinton and the Democrats. On Thursday, November 15th in Tijuana, the first trickle of refugees from across Central America began to arrive at the border, as thousands of US troops stationed across three states along with border patrol and pockets of heavily armed paramilitaries were ready to great them.
        But while Trump and the rest of the far-Right has spent weeks building up fear around the so-called “migrant caravan,” within the United States, much larger scores of internal refugees are being mass produced through eviction, rising housing prices, and now, massive fires and hurricanes. These new internal refugees are taking on different forms, from park lots filled with the working poor, displaced from their neighborhoods, to climate refugees burned and washed out of their homes now grouping together in the back of Walmarts and on beaches, to say nothing of the growing number of homeless tent cities and encampments popping up across the country, as the population of houseless people grows in the first time since the Great Recession.
      #CampFire 40% contained, Air quality extremely toxic. Worst on Earth, Tent cities filled w/ refugees. Viral outbreak unfolding. Scores of vomiting refugees quarantined, Shootout in evacuation zone. 1 dead, Military humvee’s operating checkpoints 600 still missing & 63 have died — Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) November 16, 2018
        The number of these internal refugees is only getting larger, and in many instances the State has no idea of what to do with them, other than to make half-hearted attempts to funnel them into bureaucracies like FEMA. These growing bodies of people, many of them still working jobs, going to school, and with families to support are now part of a burgeoning segment of the working-class that has now found itself homeless, displaced, and increasingly pushed to the margins of society, often with little hope of ever being let back in. These new concentrations are also leading to other, often even more horrific problems. For example in Northern California, this week tens of thousands of people made newly homeless and clumped together after devastating fires, faced multiple norovirus outbreaks across different evacuation centers in Chico, CA. To make matters worse, as of Sunday the largest self-organized tent city for Camp Fire survivors is scheduled to be evicted.
The Growing Fire Crisis in California           Over 60 people are confirmed dead in Northern California and hundreds are still missing, after tens of thousand were displaced in a matter of hours following the rapid incineration of the blue-collar town of Paradise, close to Chico, California. Eric Holthaus of Grist wrote of the fires, that they are the most destructive to ever hit California and the deadliest wildfire in modern American history.”
       Wildfires have also broken out in Southern California, causing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands, and as of November 16th, fires were also reported in the Santa Cruz Mountains, below the bay area. The impact of the fires has gone far beyond just the tragic lives lost, as now across Northern California, schools have been canceled and people have taken to wearing breathing masks or staying inside when possible. As Grist wrote:
          On Thursday, northern California’s Air Quality Index, a measure of how polluted the air is, was the worst of any region in the world. Chico, Oroville, and Sacramento reported pollution levels in the “hazardous” category — the highest on the scale — topping parts of China and India and breaking records for the worst air quality in the area since record keeping began. It’s the equivalent of smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day.
          It appears that the recent crisis was brought on by a mix of human caused climate change, environmental factors, and human error. Over the past several years, severe drought has been coupled with infestations of bark beetles, which has led to the deaths of over 129 million trees along large sections of eastern California, setting the stage for vast amounts of territory going up in flames. As one report wrote:
           After burning for more than one week, the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles has destroyed over 98,300 acres, approximately equal in size to the city of Denver, Colorado. The fire prompted the evacuation of more than 295,000 people and is responsible for three deaths thus far. An estimated 504 structures have been destroyed and an entire section of the Pacific Coast Highway remains closed. As new details emerge of the Woolsey Fire’s devastation, the death toll in Northern California’s Camp Fire jumped to 63 on Thursday with the number of missing increasing to 631. The Camp Fire is now the deadliest wildfire in California history. More than 11,862 structures have been destroyed as of this writing. The Camp Fire completely destroyed the town of Paradise in the Sierra Nevada mountain foothills leaving more than 26,000 residents with no homes to return to.
         There are also reports of electrical malfunctions in Northern and Southern California which may have triggered the initial fires, while far-Right and pro-Trump pundits have even gone so far as literally to blame “ANTIFA.
             But the unfolding tragedy across California has only been made worse by the inability of capitalist society to deal with the crisis. Many people in affected areas learned of the fires and had to leave so fast, (some estimated the fires moved “at a rate of one football field per second), that they were not able to grab phones, IDs, and basic items. A majority of those displaced by the fire were working-class and working-poor, often renters; people that no have nowhere to return to.
          In the face of this, starting on November 15th according to local news, at the behest of the Red Cross, services such as free clothes, bathrooms, and food began to be slowly turned off, as it was announced that the Chico based tent-city behind a WalMart would be shuttered on Sunday, November 18th.
According to local news:
          Federal assistance isn’t available yet. The Disaster Recovery Center for FEMA won’t even be open until [the 16th], and even then the temporary housing options aren’t in place. FEMA stated to the local news that shelters in Chico could be used to house some people, however many currently are suffering from norovirus outbreaks, leading many people to choose to take their chances on the streets.
           Volunteers with Mutual Aid Disaster Relief have spoken to It’s Going Down for years about the poor response from FEMA and the Red Cross to current disasters. They have shared stories about the Red Cross offering sporadic aid to devastated communities while ignoring poor communities of color completely, often leaving behind those without access to food and shelter. We’ve heard about people in the the wake of Florida’s storms being quickly made homeless after their landlords evicted them from apartments destroyed by flooding, and turned away from any sort of relief from FEMA in North Carolina after their mobile homes were destroyed by hurricanes.
           Speaking with local news outlets, both organizers of the informal tent city and survivors of the Paradise fire both expressed frustration at the inaction from government officials and also a fear of what was going to happen next as the eviction on Sunday looms.
Only Part of a Growing Crisis
          According to The Guardian, 2017 marked the first time since the Great Recession in 2008 that homelessness has been growing in the US. Across the US, there are signs of an exploding crisis of economic and climate refugees, as more and more tent cities pop up, parking lots and streets are lined with those sleeping in their cars, and beaches are populated by those fleeing massive fires. In California, courts have ruled that cities must provide shelter beds and cannot ticket people with no other recourse but to sleep on the streets. In Modesto, California, only a few hours south of Chico, this has led to the creation of a massive self-organized tent city filled with hundreds of tents and families. Other cities, such as Minneapolis, are in the process of evicting their tent cities in the middle of winter, while in Oakland and British Columbia, homeless people and their allies have fought to take over vacant land and even squat buildings. 

            As Alliance Against Displacement wrote: The organization and direct action of homeless people constitutes a frontline in an international struggle against capitalism. In the Bay Area and Vancouver, we see skyrocketing wealth inequality and gentrification, alongside the state’s disinterest in housing poor and working class people. Municipalities all over Turtle Island are attempting to invisibilize the global housing crisis by directly attacking homeless communities, but their efforts are not enough to hem in a growing movement led by homeless people, whose determination to survive and thrive radically intervenes in a society founded on profit, property, genocide, slavery, and displacement. The right to homes for all, and the power to defend them, must be won through asserting relationships to land against the logic of property.
       Meanwhile, more and more sections of the working class are being displaced. In many major cities, the number of working and poor people sleeping in their cars is skyrocketing. As Slate wrote: As housing costs soar in major cities, more Americans are living behind the wheel. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development doesn’t collect national data on vehicle residency, but unsheltered homelessness—a category that includes people sleeping in vehicles—is on the rise. In 2016, HUD counted 176,357 unsheltered people nationwide on a single night; last year, that number jumped to 192,875. In King County, Washington (which includes Seattle), about 3,372 people—more than half of the county’s unsheltered population—are living in vehicles. And in Greater Los Angeles, which has the largest unsheltered homeless population in the country, more than 15,000 people live in cars, vans, and RVs.
        The discourse around this reality on both the “left” and “right” is predictable as it is idiotic. One side takes a “law and order” approach as it always has to the homeless, as some local governments hire advisors to pass laws and ordinances to push the homeless out of their cities by means of harassment and court fines. On the “progressive” side however, simply advocating for tent cities and allocating unused corporate parking lots at night for those sleeping in their cars, which could be seen as a form of “harm reduction,” at the same time does nothing to address a system of industrial capitalism that is creating all of these problems to begin with.
          One thing in looking at all of this is clear: the refugees we need to worry about aren’t the ones coming to the US from Central America, but the refugees being created daily by gentrification, capitalism, and climate change. Moreover, this system is not able to meet the demands of hundreds of thousands of people impacted by these disasters. Instead, human beings are going to have to organize themselves to impose their own needs directly upon everyday life – now, not by waiting on elected officials or through the ballot box, and doing so in the face of and against the interests of the rich and powerful and calls by liberals for “civility.”

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Friday, 16 November 2018

Our Dear Green Place.

        The ever decreasing green places in our city is a frightening prospect. A city with little or no green parks is a concrete desert. Even those places that are still green and pleasant within our city are under attack, because of the continual renting them out to commercial interests. This is not what these green and pleasant spaces were created for, they were not created to make profits for commercial concerns, they were spaces for our citizens to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Places within our city for kids to run free and safe, for people to walk in peace, to relax, for safe open air leisure, for an escape form the concrete and traffic. Without them our lives are diminished, impoverished, and our kids are deprived of that essential in growing up, the ability to run, play and relax in pleasant and safe surroundings.
My local Springburn Public Park

        These paces must be protected and preserved for our leisure and pleasure, not as opportunities for the commercial world to cream off ever greater profits.
     An appeal from my Friend Bob, but also from my heart.

    Two events concerning the commercialisation of green space and what we can do about it

A discussion (Thursday 13th Dec)

       Each summer the volume of paid events occupying our parks is expanding. The disruption to ordinary park users who see the park as an escape from the chaos and consumerism of daily life is worsening. Many park users see these disruptions to their enjoyment of using and living round the park as out of sync with what the park is there for.
      We will be discussing these and other park and green space issues and some that that are also enjoyable and more conducive to park use – and that could help to stop the use of our parks for commercial profiteering.

Speakers to be confirmed.

A workshop (Sunday 16th Dec)

The workshop will be around. How to find out things about parks, greens pace, commons and how to use the “Community Empowerment Act”. The general public need to be heard in this conversation in protecting community assets. We will be looking at the various, forums, assemblies and mechanisms, that could help to enable groups as well as individuals to take part in this important dialogue.


Thursday 13 December 7:00
Kinning Park Complex. (For food 6:00)


Sunday 16 December 3:00 (Soft & hot drinks)
Kinning Park Complex.

Please forward to interested.

More info:
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